20/07/2009 09:13 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Bottle-Fed Babies At Risk Due To Lack Of Advice

New parents are given little information on bottle-feeding and could often be getting it wrong, researchers have said.

Mistakes in the concentration of formula and timing of feeds are common, according to the new report. This can lead to overfeeding, which can cause obesity, or babies not getting enough milk.

The obsession with promoting breastfeeding could mean mothers who bottle-feed are neglected by health professionals.

The study, led by a team from the University of Cambridge, says: "Inadequate information and support for motherswho decide to bottle feed may put the health of their babies at risk. "While it is important to promote breastfeeding, itis also necessary to ensure that the needs of bottle-feeding mothers are met."
They carried out a review of studies involving more than 13,000 mothers and found many common problems.

"Mothers who bottle-fed their babies experienced negative emotions such as guilt, anger, worry, uncertainty and a sense of failure," said the study. "Mothers reported receiving little information on bottle feeding and did not feel empowered to make decisions. "Mistakes in preparation of bottle feeds were common."

This all rings true in my experience. All new mothers have it drummed into them that breast is best. I was shown videos and given leaflets about breastfeeding until they were coming out of my ears. But I haven't got a clue how to prepare a bottle.

Apparently demonstrations on how to prepare bottle feeds are prohibited from antenatal classes, in case they encourage mothers down the "wrong path". I have friends who were berated by their health visitors for stopping breastfeeding even though they were being chewed to pieces by their babies.

I know why breastfeeding is so good but if it's not possible, surely more should be done to help mothers with the alternative, and not just make them feel bad about it?